Olivier Vogelsang, a photographer from Geneva, explains how his latest book, Switzerlanders, began one Swiss National Day on the Rütli meadow, Switzerland's historical birthplace.
“Switzerland is a country of contrasts – you can either love it or hate it. You can see patriotism clashing with anarchism, and the throwing of flags into the air.
For a foreigner, it’s hard to form an opinion without resorting to clichés. The book aims to shatter the usual links and portray a country which is simultaneously familiar and incredibly exotic.
All along my journey, I felt a greater sense of disorientation in Switzerland than in several other countries. The language barrier certainly exists for some people, but that’s not the only thing: in criss-crossing cantons which are like little states with their peculiarities, in making it over alpine passes which are sometimes closed for more than seven months a year, I’ve become aware of the extraordinary diversity of this small territory. It could be lost at any moment.”